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Sen. Bob Menendez’s wife is excused from court after cancer surgery

NEW YORK (AP) — The wife of Sen. Bob Menendez was excused Wednesday from appearing in court next week after her lawyer said she’s experiencing intense and chronic pain after surgery to treat cancer.

Nadine Menendez was supposed to be on trial with the Democrat for the past month, but her trial was delayed until at least July after she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

She was scheduled to attend a pretrial hearing next Wednesday in Manhattan federal court before her lawyer, Barry Coburn, asked that her appearance be waived after the recent “invasive cancer surgery.”

Coburn wrote that she has “medical equipment implanted in her body and is in intense, chronic pain.”

In an order late in the day, Judge Sidney H. Stein said she can skip the hearing.

Menendez, 70, and his wife, 57, have pleaded not guilty to aiding three New Jersey businessmen in return for bribes of gold bars, hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and a car.

Much of the evidence shown to jurors since the trial began four weeks ago has focused on Nadine Menendez’s communications with the businessmen and the senator through hundreds of emails, text messages and telephone calls.

Prosecutors on Wednesday showed that her communications with different individuals were often seconds or minutes apart as she juggled conversations with the businessmen and Menendez, such as when money was provided by one of the businessmen to finance a Mercedes-Benz in 2019.

Two of the businessmen, Wael Hana and Fred Daibes, are on trial with the senator while a third businessman has pleaded guilty and has been scheduled to testify later in the trial.

The Menendez couple began dating in early 2018 and married in 2020, when the senator moved into his wife’s Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, home.

On Monday, Menendez filed to run for reelection as an independent. If victorious, it would be his fourth term as a senator.

He has insisted that anything he did on behalf of the businessmen was part of the work that any elected official carries out on behalf of constituents.

Prosecutors, though, have told a jury that Menendez sought to sell his office to enrich himself, helping Hana get a lucrative monopoly on certifying meat exports to Egypt as meeting Islamic guidelines, and assisting Daibes with investments linked to a member of the Qatari royal family.

Larry Neumeister, The Associated Press


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